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THR Spangles' Recovery Thread

Spangles

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I'm 4 weeks post THR right side (posterior surgery), and in my mid forties. I was devastated having the operation as I am an athlete and fitness professional. I got myself even fitter in the run up to the op and lost 20 lbs, even though I wasn't overweight to begin with. Prehab, I've found, is key.

I found the first 2 weeks very hard, but am now walking without any aids and doing quite advanced physio using a phone app. I stopped painkillers 4 days after the op when I left hospital as I hated taking them. I'm not 100% ok four weeks on, but the improvement in my case has been dramatic. I stopped the anticoagulant xarelto yesterday as I found the side effects terrible and I'd say I'm quite low risk for a clot as I am very active. Who knows though. You just have to listen to your body, which is another reason I stopped the painkillers.

I am glad I had this op now. I feel about three inches taller and my posture has improved so much. I had such a limp before as I had bone on bone no cartilage; traumatic osteoarthritis brought on by a sporting fall which broke my ankle four years ago. I don't have a limp now and I believe it's because I have very strong leg and core muscles. I recognise not everyone is so fortunate, but if you're reading this before you've had surgery I strongly recommend you do at least 8 weeks prehab of strength, cardio and flexibility training. I did long distance cycling and Pilates & Body Pump in my garden (it's coronavirus lockdown). People are surprised I could do exercise like this yet have a hip so degenerated on the right side. I can't explain it....but I could not walk well or run.

Doctors would have had me take daily strong painkillers and suffer for fifteen years. I refused to take the painkillers so used hardcore exercise to help strengthen my muscles, although it did nothing for the arthritis! It was only when one of the best surgeons in the UK saw my X-RAYS that he insisted I get the surgery done and he saw me as I priority case. I'm lucky I was treated under our wonderful NHS so didn't have to pay.

I would happily advise anyone younger having a THR as I felt very isolated not being elderly, and also being so sporty and active. In the build up to the surgery I was in a terrible state of anxiety. The main issue I've found post op is I'm more tired than usual as I tend to have boundless energy.
 
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Celle

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Hello @Spangles - you will see that I have moved your post from Melmax2's thread and started your own recovery thread.

I know that your intent was to help her, but you responded to a post she had made back in June and you wrote a lot about your own recovery, which tended to disrupt her thread, which should be about her own recovery.
Forum etiquette: being polite when posting

Please post any updates, comments, or questions about your recovery in this, your own thread. We will see them there, as someone checks all the new posts every day.
If you need an urgent response to a question, just tag a member of staff.
How to tag another member; how to answer when someone tags you

If you prefer a different thread title, just post what you want and we'll get it changed for you.

Just in case you couldn't find your thread, here are the instructions on finding your thread,
How can I find my threads and posts? . Many members bookmark their thread, so they can find it when they log on.

I'm glad to hear that your recovery is going well, but you have, and had, a degree of fitness that very few people have, and your exercise advice would not be suitable for them.

By the way, please will you tell us the full date of your hip replacement and which hip it is, so we can make a signature for you? Knowing the exact date will help us to advise you appropriately an it will also help us to see when you had your surgery, without having to go back to your first post. Thank you. :flwrysmile:

I would happily advise anyone younger having a THR as I felt very isolated not being elderly,
It's not just the elderly who are having hip replacements nowadays. 50 is about average for a THR and we have had some people as young as teenagers who have needed their hips replaced.
The main issue I've found post op is I'm more tired than usual as I tend to have boundless energy.
That's completely normal. Most of your body's energy is being directed towards healing your hip, and there isn't much left for anything else. This article explains:
Energy drain for THRs

I'll give you some more reading in my next post.
 
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Celle

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Hip Recovery: The Guidelines
1. Don’t worry: Your body will heal all by itself. Relax, let it, don't try and hurry it, don’t worry about any symptoms now, they are almost certainly temporary
2. Control discomfort:
rest
ice
take your pain meds by prescription schedule (not when pain starts!)​

3. Do what you want to do BUT
a. If it hurts, don't do it and don't allow anyone - especially a physical therapist - to do it to you​
b. If your leg swells more or gets stiffer in the 24 hours after doing it, don't do it again.​

4. PT or exercise can be useful BUT take note of these

5. At week 4 and after you should follow this

6. Access these pages on the website


Pain management and the pain chart
Healing: how long does it take?
Chart representation of THR recovery

Dislocation risk and 90 degree rule
Energy drain for THRs
Pain and swelling control: elevation is the key
Post op blues is a reality - be prepared for it
Myth busting: on getting addicted to pain meds
Sleep deprivation is pretty much inevitable - but what causes it?

BIG TIP: Hips actually don't need any exercise to get better. They do a pretty good job of it all on their own if given half a chance. Trouble is, people don't give them a chance and end up with all sorts of aches and pains and sore spots. All they need is the best therapy which is walking and even then not to excess.

We try to keep the forum a positive and safe place for our members to talk about their questions or concerns and to report successes with their joint replacement surgery.

While members may create as many threads as they like in the majority of BoneSmart’s forums, we ask that each member have only One Recovery Thread. This policy makes it easier to go back and review the member’s history before providing advice, so please post any updates or questions you have right here in this thread.
 

zauberflöte

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Hey, welcome, @Spangles ! You will find yourself among even younger fit hippies here, who are also recovering. You're very fortunate to have been able to do the pre-hab that you did. I could not have done any of that, for sure. The hips prevented almost everything. Now it's "used parts surrounding newish hips" that I deal with lol.

The fatigue is to be expected-- your body is throwing all its energy into the year-long (yep!) healing process. Be kind to your body and it will reward you with a smooth recovery. You are only four weeks into a recovery which will last 11 more months-- you can afford to rest if you are tired. The energy will come back bit by bit. I had "nap attacks" out of the blue with both hips. Also animal protein cravings!

Enjoy your recovery by sharing it around with others on here!
 

Layla

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:hi: Welcome @Spangles Thanks for joining us!

I'm not 100% ok four weeks on,
No one is 100% at four weeks...so you’re in good company here. :) You seem to be in a comfortable place and possibly at an advantage as it sounds like you weren’t too physically limited pre-op, lucky you!

Sorry you suffered through anxiety while awaiting your scheduled date. I can certainly relate as most others will too. The time leading up to surgery is the worst for many. Thankfully that’s all behind you now.
I look forward to following your recovery. A peaceful Sunday to you!
 

Celle

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Hi again @Spangles

Please will you tell us the full date of your hip replacement and which hip it is, so we can make a signature for you? That way, every time you post we will be able to see how far along you are in recovery. :flwrysmile:
 
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Spangles

Spangles

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Thanks for the nice responses Layla and Zauberflote.
My surgery was 7th July 2020.
I felt isolated as the average age of a THR is certainly not 50 in the UK but 70 hence my point about 'elderly'. I am more than 25+ years younger than the average age in the UK which was my point of reference.
Giving advice about prehab is important for anyone of any age undergoing major surgery so I beg to differ. I'm not saying do it at my level, but certainly healthy eating and some kind of strength training is possible even if chair bound.
 
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Ava J

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I felt isolated as the average age of a THR is certainly not 50 in the UK but 70 hence my point about 'elderly'. I am more than 25+ years younger than the average age in the UK which was my point of reference.
That was one thing I hated to hear the most. "You're 33. You're too young for this." Well, hey, ladies and gents, do remember I had a congenital disorder that was misdiagnosed and screwed up hips have been my norm all of my life. The comments I've heard through diagnostics and all. The doctors have no manners.
You need help when you need help, right? Good news is that in our day and age help is available to any age patients. Don't worry about the age at all. The "norm-touting" people don't live in your body and have no perspective what it's like to be you.
Now you're going to hop around though!
 

zauberflöte

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@Spangles you definitely won't feel isolated here! , as we are an international community ranging in age from young teens to my at-the-time 91-yr-old mother. Most of the people in my "hip cohorts" were 50's through 70's, and almost all of us had a certain level of activity/fitness we were aiming to regain. There are a few hard-core fitness folks on here right now, too; I hope you can locate them because I can't remember who they are. :whistle:

I do seem to gather from reading here and other snippets of news the past few years that it is much harder to get a joint replacement in the UK that it was even 5 years ago. Some new NHS policy?

An advice given here often for hip and knee replacement candidates is often made jokingly but with earnest intent-- if your upper body is able and you have a long lead time (some don't), work on upper body strength for those first few weeks of pushing up off your chair with more aid from upper body than we are accustomed to.

Hope your hip is feeling great today! :ice:
 

Layla

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You're 33. You're too young for this."
I find that extremely insensitive, thoughtless and rude. Why can’t people take the time to consider what those comments may feel like on the receiving end. I know there is enough mental anguish in realizing you need to replace your natural hip with a prosthetic. I say this because it was difficult for me to come to terms with needing a THR at age 60 since my parents, each had both hips replaced in their 70’s and one at 80. I felt a little cheated mine didn’t last as long...but thankfully there is a solution and great advancements in that it’s a possibility that even at 33, it may last your lifetime.

I will add that at age 58, when I was initially diagnosed the surgeon told me I was at the average age for hip replacement. Possibly average age to them is “whatever age you are” when they diagnose you need a new one. :rotfl:
 

Hip4life

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It can be just as annoying to have a resident doctor say “well, you can’t expect it to feel the same as when you were 30” when you’ve been athletic and fit throughout your adult life. I’m so glad the former ideas about age, too young or too old, are starting to change. Everyone deserves a chance, if possible, at an active life without debilitating pain no matter what their age. It’s better for the individual and better for society. The technology now is amazing and will only improve. Wow, still blows my mind.
 
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Spangles

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It seems the average age for THR is different depending on where you live then! It's 67-70 in the UK and very rare to meet anyone in their 40s who've had it.

The waiting lists are long here and surgeons are less than enthusiastic to operate on younger people due to not wanting them to go through the more complex revision surgery. I'm just hoping that by the time I'm in my 60s or 70s they will have advanced revision surgery significantly. Or the prosthesis may still be ok. Who knows?! We have to think about the here and now. It's not ok to be limping and hobbling about in your 40s popping strong painkillers daily waiting to be 67.

Anyway, it's four weeks since I had the surgery and I'm lucky to be walking around without any aids. I was walking around central London yesterday. My husband tells me I've now got a beautiful gait and posture; my physiotherapist was amazed at my recovery last week so I realise I'm lucky. But I do credit it to being very fit, strong and slim. I went on a deliberate health kick 8 weeks before the operation and I'm glad I did. The physio exercises are fine and since I've not taken any painkillers, I've gently advanced and feel no pain when doing even quite challenging exercises. I never agreed that you should take painkillers to force your way through physio, but that's just my opinion.

I still feel a real loss of my real hip but have to keep telling myself it was damaged beyond repair. The surgeon showed it me in the operating theatre and said the best place for it was the bin/trash can. I could see the damaged cartilage. I'd been in denial with regards to the X-ray and MRI scans.
 
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Hip4life

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That’s kind of an interesting phenomenon, isn’t it: the feeling of grief about losing a part of you, even when it was causing so much pain. I think that contributes a little to some post op blues even if it’s subconscious. I made a journal entry pre-op expressing gratitude for what my hip had contributed to helpIng me achieve in my life. It helped me get perspective and feel more calm about surgery. Just an observation.
 
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Spangles

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That’s kind of an interesting phenomenon, isn’t it: the feeling of grief about losing a part of you, even when it was causing so much pain. I think that contributes a little to some post op blues even if it’s subconscious. I made a journal entry pre-op expressing gratitude for what my hip had contributed to helpIng me achieve in my life. It helped me get perspective and feel more calm about surgery. Just an observation.
I couldn't agree with you more. I've also done a daily journal and taken pics of my incision wound and videos of me walking around. Also noted down how many steps I've been doing!! You can really see how far you come writing it down. The first few days in hospital were horrendous but I've been amazed at how speedily one can improve. You're right though that the post op blues are challenging. I've been quite grumpy and uncommunicative with my family.
 

Layla

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I'm just hoping that by the time I'm in my 60s or 70s they will have advanced revision surgeon significantly. Or the prosthesis may still be ok. Who knows?! We have to think about the here and now. It's not ok to be limping and hobbling about in your 40s popping strong painkillers daily waiting to be 67.
It is hard to believe there won’t be more advancements by then. You’re right in it being necessary to think about the here and now. After all, it’s all we have, in reality we are not promised tomorrow. So your reasoning of not wanting a life of limping, hobbling and living with pain and possibly causing damage to vital organs from years of pain meds usage makes sense.

I feel I was mourning the loss of my natural hip for several months prior to my op. I have recorded here that I quietly cried myself to sleep the night before my surgery as I thanked God for my natural hip and the 60 years it gave me, trying to make peace with it all. I also shed a few tears when I first saw my bandaged wound in a mirror in the bathroom, alone, just hours after my THR. I thought to myself, it really happened, my natural hip is really gone. It can be an emotional challenge for some and we each deal with it in our own way. Thankfully, I was over that a long time ago. The retired forum nurse once compared it to wanting to hold onto a rotten tooth in your mouth, lol.

You’re doing well and the more time that passes, the less you‘ll even give it much thought.
Have a peaceful evening!
 
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Spangles

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I can totally relate to all you say. Thanks for your nice message. I still don't feel like it's 'me' having this implant. I guess I will learn to accept it...have a peaceful evening too.
 

Ava J

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I still feel a real loss of my real hip but have to keep telling myself it was damaged beyond repair. The surgeon showed it me in the operating theatre and said the best place for it was the bin/trash can. I could see the damaged cartilage. I'd been in denial with regards to the X-ray and MRI scans.
I have never seen my x-rays until last year, and now I feel wigged out that I have 2 implants in my body in what feels like overnight, but otherwise, I was, "Good riddance!" The pain. I thought I was tough. But once my nighttime sleep went off the rails because I could not get comfortable, I thought that was it. It'd best be in pain on the way to recovery than on my way to who knows what. I wasn't given any strong pain killers in the 6 months since I finally found the surgeon who was willing to take my case. He just shrugged. "Take some ibuprofen."
So I am totally ecstatic to hear you do so well! I tried my best to stay healthy before the surgery: some stationary biking and such, so I'm hoping I'll have a good outcome as well. I was walking without aids 6 weeks in. Just woke up one morning and thought, "Today this is it!" And it was. :D
 
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Spangles

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That's great to hear Ava. Must have been daunting being only 33 and having to have bilateral. You sound like you're doing really well too.
 

Layla

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